Penn and Teller FAQ

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Archive-name: alt.fan.penn-n-teller-faq
Last modified: Nov 3 11:31:24 EST 1997

Frequently asked questions in alt.fan.penn-n-teller
Please send suggested corrections and additions to: nie...@eecs.umich.edu

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Presenting the Penn and Teller FAQ.

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Contents:
WHAT'S NEW/MODIFIED
GENERAL
MEDIA
PENN and TELLER and COMPUTERS
MUSIC
TRIVIA
MAGIC
FAN CLUB
ABOUT THIS NEWSGROUP
LEGAL NOTICES

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WHAT'S NEW/MODIFIED

This section highlights what's new or modified in the FAQ since the
previous release. Changes made since the last release are marked with a
vertical line "|" in column 1.


======================================================

GENERAL

This section should answer most of the questions of anyone reading this
group for the first time.

Q) What is the purpose of this group?
A) This group is for the discussion of Penn Jillette and Teller, otherwise
known as Penn and Teller, the Bad Boys of Magic, and "that tall loud guy
with the short silent guy."

Q) Where can I see Penn and Teller?
A)
February 3-15: Shubert Theater, Boston, MA
March 7: Museum of TV & Radio-William S. Pauly Festival, Los Angeles, CA
Mar. 24-Apr. 5: Wilshire Theater, Los Angeles, CA
April 17-18: Hawaii Theater, Honolulu, HI
June 2-14: Schubert Theater, Chicago, IL

Q) Anybody have the telephone number for Bally's box office?
A) The Bally's box office number is: 1 (800) 237-SHOW or (702) 739-4567

Q) Is it just me or is it really true that Teller never speaks?
A1) From: itb...@chip.ucdavis.edu (Brian Zaugg)
For those who haven't seen The Invisible Thread cable special, Teller
was the subject of an intensive and gruelling army experiment and as a
result cannot speak. Before being a guinea pig for the military, he
was a polyglot (spoke over 23 languages if I remember correctly). A
literal linguistic genius.
A2) From: se...@netcom.com (Mike Schwartz) quoting Teller at a lecture
at the Smithsonian Institute
Teller: I liked the idea-- He asked why don't I talk, a question I've
never been asked before. [Laughter] Since about junior high school, I
have been intrigued by the act of lying without speaking. [Laughter]
Quite sincerely. The element of our show that you see, that you
absorb, and that you then lie to yourself about, fascinates me. I
started off getting interested in it for that, and then, later on, I
started to do performances at, like, frat parties. And when you do a
performance at a frat party, merely getting the attention of the
audience is the entire show. So, I found that if I went into a frat
party and talked, I got just got heckled to death and thrown out. If I
went in and I shut up, and I did things that set people's teeth on
edge, momentarily, the frat boys would set down their cups of beer,
remove their hands from their girlfriends' breasts, and pay attention
to me. That's how it started. And when Penn and I started to work
together, it was sort of the obvious choice, because Penn had dealt
with rough audiences in the exact opposite way, as you can probably
divine. And so there's never a traffic problem between us, and it's a
really wonderful division of labor.

Q) What does his [Teller's] voice sound like?
A) From: ech...@crl.com (Edmund C. Hack)
He has a pleasant, tenor voice (tending to the lower end) and little
noticeable accent. He appeared in the HBO movie "Long Gone" as a minor
league baseball team owner, where he had a S'uthern accent.

Q) Do Penn and Teller know about this group?
A) From: go...@pixar.com (Craig)
They've known about it for days.
Remember: "Mofo Knows".

Q) What does MOFO mean?
A) Let's see...
1) It was the name of the monkey (psychic gorilla).
2) " " " " " a tour.
3) " " " " " their BBS.
4) " " " password to the above BBS.
5) " " " sobriquet of Colin, their personal hacker.

Q) Are Penn and Teller really revealing the truth/secrets of their trade?
A1) From: m...@aggroup.aggroup.com (Mike Russell)
The short answer (mine anyway) is no - they are not really revealing
secrets, just pretending to.
A2) From: bar...@grymoire.crd.ge.com (Bruce Barnett)
Actually that wasn't always true. In the PBS special, they exposed the
pass, the pinky break, and the force. At one point they did the cups
and balls using transparent cups, so people could see how it worked.
A3) From: Mi...@hutch.demon.co.uk (Mike Hutchinson)
Quoting David Berglas, President of the Magic Circle
'Not as much as people have thought. They did a spoof on it. Some of
it is absolutely great and wonderful to watch. They invented an
illusion where they have a glass cabinet and apparently (sic) you can
see what's going on inside. But it's not based on any real magical
stuff and it was exaggerated, but they were funny, they were a bit
gruesome. The only thing we didn't like about them because they were a
bit distasteful and we'd like magic to be a good entertainment.'

Q) Would they be considered as outcasts among other professional magicians?
A1) From: m...@aggroup.aggroup.com (Mike Russell)
The biggest reaction is from the amateur magicians. I think many if
not most professionals appreciate the new prominence that P&T are
bringing to magic.
A2) From: Mi...@hutch.demon.co.uk (Mike Hutchinson)
quoting Walt Lees, editor of 'Club 71' published by Repromagic:
"Except for a small hard-core minority, who seem to feel an obligation
to vociferously resist anything which is not one hundred percent
mainstream, most of the magicians to whom I have spoken are amused by
the series."
A3) From: Mi...@hutch.demon.co.uk (Mike Hutchinson)
Some magicians were VERY upset by Penn and Teller. One of these was
David Berglas, President of the Magic Circle. Berglas said, "Penn and
Teller wants (sic) to be successful at magic and couldn't make it so
they found another vehicle, they're out to shock...Penn & Teller take
the mystery out of magic and make it look as if it's easy, er, some of
it is some is very complicated. We'd rather keep our secrets and not
have them exposed."
The 'Guardian' newspaper for January 19, 1994 reported Berglas as
saying:
"We dissociate ourselves from them. They are not members of any
organization and they run down magicians for publicity. They won't
last."
However, on Talkback Radio March 16, 1995 he said:
"A lot of our younger members think they're absolutely great, in fact a
lot of us think they're great in what they do if you like alternative
comedy, you don't mind swearing, you don't mind distasteful things, and
if you don't mind that in magic then everyone will enjoy Penn and
Teller....I believe that one of them is a very good magician and if he
applied he would certainly be able to become a member."

======================================================

MEDIA

This section discusses Penn and Teller movies, books, television, etc.

Q) What movies/videos feature Penn and Teller?
A) Here's a partial list:
1) Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends (available on VHS)
The Tricks are different than those in the book. You actually use
portions of the video to play the pranks.
2) Don't Try this at Home (Not available???)
Including Teller getting run over by a semi, and lots of bear traps
for sandwich making.
3) Invisible Thread (Showtime short)
Penn and Teller are called in by the government to save the world
from aliens.
4) Penn and Teller Get Killed (available on VHS and laser disc)
Penn and Teller guest star on a talk show. Penn mentions how
exciting he thinks life would be if someone were trying to kill him.
You guessed it. Someone takes him seriously! Some good magic and
lots of humor.
5) Penn and Teller Go Public (PBS special, available on VHS)
They do some of their classic bits like the handstab and Teller's
Straight-jacket escape. A mini-concert if you will.
6) From: calli...@aol.com (Callis4773)
"My Chauffeur" (available on VHS)
It has a few short scenes with P&T in it. Penn is a swindler and
Teller is a rich Arab who is bored and doesn't talk. Penn entertains
him. They are the best thing about this movie.
7) From: ech...@crl.com (Edmund C. Hack) and ct...@netcom.com (Don Gladden)
"Long Gone" is a made for cable movie starring William Petersen ("To
Live and Die in LA", "Manhunter") and Virginia Madsen ("Dune",
"Creator"), co-starring Teller. The story is about a minor league
baseball team (Tampa Stogies) in the 50s that is managed by Petersen
and owned by Henry Gibson and Teller. Teller played the spoiled
rotten son. It's kinda out of character for Teller to even TALK, let
alone with a deep Southern accent, with a spoiled attitude!
8) From: tr...@gandalf.rutgers.edu (Rich Trott) and
calli...@aol.com (Callis4773)
Miami Vice: The Prodigal Son (available on VHS)
This just has Penn in it and he's in it a lot. He played a really
big drug dealer who gets his come uppance in the end.
9) From: bon...@MIT.EDU (Bonnie Barber)
Penn was in the 1987 movie, "Tough Guys Don't Dance," which starred
Ryan O'Neal and Isabella Rossellini. He played "The Big Stoop," a
Southern preacher/wife swapping devotee. Writer Norman Mailer, who
directed the movie, saw Penn & Teller perform off-Broadway and
thought Penn would be perfect for the role. And the rest, as they
say, is movie history!
10) "Half Japanese: The Band That Would Be King" is a 1993 documentary
about the band Half Japanese. It features Penn.
11) "Off Beat" is a 1986 film featuring Penn.
12) From: jbrit...@aol.com
Penn and Teller had a small part as weapons dealers in the film
version of "Car 54, Where Are You?". Penn stated he and Teller were
a team known as "Luther", then proceeded to show varied firearms to
the two main characters. The bit was excellent. A delightful gem in
a mediocre film.
13) From: Robert Gidley
In "Toy Story" Penn is the voice in the "Buzz Lightyear" commercial
that appears on the TV set. On the Special Edition Toy Story
laserdisc, one of the creators said they wanted somebody loud and
obnoxious and they immediately thought of Penn.
14) Derek Miner <miner...@usa.net>
Penn and Teller were in a video for the band Too Much Joy. The song
was called "Donna Everywhere," and the video came out around
September 1992. The gimmick in the video is that a clock in the
bottom corner of the screen counts down the money spent from the
video's budget as we watch. When Penn and Teller appear, the amount
goes into free fall! The video aired on MTV, and is now available on
a video compilation being sold by the band themselves.
From: Ellen...@aol.com
Actually, Penn directed this video, and is a great friend/fan of the
band. He has interviewed them in the past, and mentions their music
often in his writings.

Q) Do Penn and Teller have videos which aren't "mass marketed"?
A1) From: lip...@primenet.com (James J. Lippard)
The Skeptics Society sells a tape of a performance by James Randi and
Penn & Teller for $19.95 plus $3 p&h ($6 p&h outside of the U.S.). See
the Skeptics Society Web for more info. (http://www.skeptic.com/)
A2) From: PC...@webtv.net (Harry Renquist)
Penn and Teller videos are available through Society of American
Magicians. Contact: Jay Gorham, Film and tape librarian,
5 Mayfair Rd., Wynantskill, NY 12198-8017

Q) What books have Penn and Teller written?
A) They have three books:
1) Penn and Teller's How to Play in Traffic, (ISBN 1-57297-293-9)
2) Penn & Teller's How to Play with Your Food, Random House, Inc. 1992.
From: Mike Welch (mi...@tara.demon.co.uk)
Published in the UK as: The Unpleasant Book of Penn and Teller: Or
How To Play With Your Food, Pavillion (ISBN 1-85793-413-X)
3) Penn & Teller's Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends (ISBN 0-679-74311-1)
Random House, Inc. 1991.
From: bha...@itchy.ee.udel.edu (Sunita Kumari Bhatia)
Penn and Teller's directions for making your dearest friends look
like total idiots by publicly embarrassing them and generally making
them look like fools. (no violence or torture in these gags)

Q) What's this about How to Play with Your Food having some kind of noxious
chemical in it?
A) The short answer is that one could open the sugar packet which couldn't
be torn, and the contents of the packet were inedible.

Q) Have Penn and Teller ever done a TV series?
A1) From: tf...@cmu.edu (Thomas McGinnis)
As a matter of fact, they have, though it is not their usual sort of
fare. They "host" a PBS series called "Behind the Scenes" which
appears to be about various artists (and media) and how they create
their works. This seems to be geared toward kids (junior high would be
my guess) but it is still (a) entertaining and (b) a weekly dose of
Penn and Teller. Don't count on any cut-&-restored-snakes, fire eating
or other geek tricks (but you never know). I'm not positive, but I
believe the series is produced at the NYC PBS affiliate (WNET?).
A2) From: Ali...@moose.demon.co.uk (Alison Scott)
There has recently been a 6-part series in the UK called _The
Unpleasant World of Penn & Teller_ which was billed as being reprises
of many of their best known tricks, along with various special guests
etc. I can't remember all the tricks, but Teller was variously maimed
and killed on a number of occasions and there was rather a lot of stage
blood.

Q) What TV shows have either Penn or Teller appeared on as guests?
A1) From: mi...@pkware.com (Mike Shawaluk) and
nie...@eecs.umich.edu (Paul E. Nielsen)
This is a partial list:
SHOW WHO
Late Night With David Letterman Penn and Teller
The Tonight Show Penn and Teller
Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Penn
Miami Vice Penn
Saturday Night Live Penn and Teller
The Steven Banks Show Penn and Teller
Sabrina the Teenage Witch Penn and Teller
The Drew Carey Show Penn and Teller
A2) There's an index in the back of "How to play with your food" that gives
a pretty complete chronology of their TV appearances (as well as their
tours & show dates), through the publication date of the book.
A3) There's a more recent version of this list on their web site
http://www.sincity.com

Q) What are some other Penn & Teller appearances?
A1) Penn and Teller can be seen on Comic Relief 3 and they have done two TV
specials for CBS. Penn does the voice over for Comedy Central cable
network, and has written a Newsweek article about computers and Un*x.
A2) From: mrag...@nyx.cs.du.edu (Margaret Ragaisis)
Penn's just all over cable, it seems. Anyone else caught him doing the
voice of "the flea" on the Cartoon Network's "The Moxy Show?" Moxy is
a computer animated dog that hosts cartoons on Sundays 8pm EST.
A3) From: Marc 'Ricochet' Iturriaga (mitu...@twinkle1.watstar.uwaterloo.ca)
Sighted in the Run DMC video "Tricky" where the two play street
hustlers, playing the old three card monte.

Q) I was wondering if the voice over spokesman for Comedy Central is Penn.
The voice sure sounds like him.
A) "It's me, always. I have a better voice." Penn

Q) Are Penn and Teller just an American phenomena?
A) From: John Houdi (john....@houdi.se)
TV4 (a swedish commercial TV-station) aired several shows with Penn &
Teller here in Sweden a couple of month ago. As a professional
magician/comedian I found out that P&T are universal: The Swedish
people loved their show and all shows had high viewing ratings! Doesn't
that say it all about P&T universal approach?

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PENN and TELLER and COMPUTERS

This sections discusses their involvement with computers.

Q) Do Penn and Teller appear in any computer games?
A1) Steven Spielbers's Director's Chair was recently released starring:
Jennifer Aniston, Quentin Tarantino, Penn and Teller, and Steven
Spielberg.
A2) The company which produced Penn and Teller's Smoke and Mirrors went
out of business before it had wide release. If you manage to find a
pre-release copy, send it to the author of this FAQ, and in return
I'll mention your name here! (So far no one has taken me up on this
generous offer.)

Q) Is there a World-Wide Web site for Penn & Teller?
A1) The official Web site for Penn and Teller is:
http://www.sincity.com/
There you'll find pictures, tricks, a photo history of Penn's house,
and a whole bunch of stuff that's hard to describe.
A2) There is a Mofo chat site at
http://home.sprynet.com/sprynet/ashmuel/mofo.htm
A3) Penn writes a column for eXcite which may be found at:
http://www.excite.com/xdr/Penn
A4) Penn and Teller did a guest rant for the Netly News which may be found
at: http://cgi.pathfinder.com/netly/spoofcentral/penn/
This is no longer maintained, but it's kept as a tribute to Barry
Marx. You can read about Barry Marx at:
http://www.excite.com/xdr/Penn/penn970501.html

Q) How can I e-mail Penn and Teller?
A) mof...@sincity.com

Q) Is P&T's BBS still in operation?
A1) From: Penn and Teller
We had a BBS really early in 86- 87, with all kinds of cool stuff. We
became overwhelmed in a short period of time. We're still looking for
new homes on the net somewhere, where we can do something like the BBS
but won't be forced to pay for 100 phone lines.
A2) There is a BBS which Penn and Teller post to called the "Jungle" which
you might hear about as you read this newsgroup. Access to this BBS is
by invitation only.

Q) What happened to Penn and Teller's Delphi connection?
A) From: MZA...@delphi.com (Mark Zanger, Delphi senior editor)
Penn & Teller have "escaped" from their contract with Delphi Internet
Services by mutual agreement. Delphi will continue its Penn & Teller
group as a fan club, and it still offers the smoothest gateway to
alt.magic and alt.fan.penn-n-teller.

Q) What's Penn's involvement with computers?
A1) From: tr...@gandalf.rutgers.edu (Richard Trott)
Penn writes (wrote) a column for PC Computing. It can (could) be found
on the last page before the back cover.
A2) From: Penn Jillette
You can say, "If you subscribed to PCC for me, you should sure as hell
demand your money back because I'm not there any more. I was not
treated well. I'll tell the whole story later but it won't be in the
pages of PCC." Penn
A3) From: Penn Jillette
"They wanted to start telling me how to write. It was a bit late for
that and I told them that using an awful lot of obscenity."

Q) I see Penn appear quite often in the computing industry but I have never
seen Teller's name appear anywhere. Is Penn the only one interested, or
is it just that Penn is the only that makes his presence known?
A) From: mrag...@nyx10.cs.du.edu (Margaret Ragaisis)
Teller uses computers and is into them, too, but not nearly as much as
Penn is. Penn is a techno freak.


======================================================

MUSIC

This sections discusses their involvement with music.

Q) Who is Captain Howdy?
A) Penn and Kramer. Their albumn is called "Tatoo of Blood", and you can
hear samples of it on the P&T web site.

Q) What is Penn's favorite group?
A) From: Malcolm Humes (mal...@wrs.com)
Penn has long been a fanatical Velvet Underground nut - proclaiming
himself as their number 1 fan. This has even led him to perform and
record with the Velvet's Mo Tucker. He's also been associated with a
record label, 50Skadillion Watts, which I think was co-run with the head
of the Velvet Undeground Fan Club. The label has released one record of
Bongos, Bass & Bob, a band featuring Penn. I think they also did other
stuff with Half-Japanese and maybe Mo Tucker or other bands.

Q) I have noticed that Penn-N-Teller are closely associated with the
multi-media group the Residents. Does anyone know if Penn-N-Teller are
actually creative members of the group?
A1) From: sch...@mari.acc.stolaf.edu (Peter K Schulz)
Although it would waste a lot of bandwidth to explain, suffice it to
say that neither Penn nor Teller are involved with the Residents except
as big fans. Penn even played the part of narrator on the Residents'
tour in 1982.
A2) From: Malcolm Humes (mal...@wrs.com)
Penn Jillette did an double lp for Ralph Records (the Residents old
label) circa 1982. Penn was supposedly locked in a motel across from
Ralph's office and was given a stack of new records from the label to
listen to each day, as part of a 10th Anniversary gimmick for the
label. As the days progress Penn starts going nuts over the weird
content of the records, offering brief reviews. This was way before
Penn & Teller had achieved the prominent success they have now.

Following that, Penn toured on the Mole Show tour as narrator. And on
the 13th Anniversary Residents tour (at least for some San Francisco
shows) Penn & Teller opened for the Residents and did an act that was
completely integrated into the concert, where Teller agreed to sing a
Residents song in exchange for one of the Residents un-masking to show
their true identity. (For non-Residents buffs, the band is anonymous
and always performs with Eyeball masks on). The trick was performed
with Teller singing behind a screen, and afterwards the unmasking
exposed the "Resident" unmasked to actually be Teller - a classic
switch. Penn & Teller also performed some great noise "art" music as
part of their act.

Yet another link occurs in a documentary on the Residents, The Eyes
Scream, which features Penn & Teller as hosts, which I was released in
1991.
A3) From: James HG Redekop (tz...@csd.uwo.ca)
A bit of a correction: Ralph is once more the Rez's label. It has
been swallowed up by Tec Tones for a few years, but the extracted it
recently and it's now it's own again. You can write them at
ral...@crypticorp.com.

Penn appears on the Residents' Freak Show CD-ROM, describing his part
in the Mole Show tour. He also profides a promo blurb along the lines
of, "This CD-ROM is *excellent*. After all, I'm *in* it."

Q) Before the shows began they played some weird album. Who was singing
that crazy music?
A1) From: abr...@gpu.srv.ualberta.ca (Adrienne Brown)
Yma Sumac.
A2) From: Penn
It's called "Miracles" and it was done in 1972 - it's her pop album.
As far as I know it's NOT on CD.
The one in the show is my personal copy.
It's on the London lable.
A3) From: 76432...@compuserve.com (Don Pierson)
It was (made into a CD) a 'Private Pressing' was made a couple of years
ago (1000 only made). It's hard to find but it exists.
A legitimate CD reissue is in the works and is to contain some
previously unreleased cuts. Negotiations are still underway with
Polygram but there shouldn't be a problem with the reissue since Yma is
touring and performing again.
(See http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/PC/sumac.htm)

Q) Can you tell us what ever happened to "The Othmar Schoeck Memorial
Society for the Preservation of Unusual and Disgusting Music"? I have a
card listing Penn Jillette as a Kineticist with this presumably august
body.
A) From: mrag...@nyx10.cs.du.edu (Margaret Ragaisis)
Wier Chrisemer, Teller and Penn were The Othmar Schoeck Memorial Society
for the Preservation of Unusual and Disgusting Music, which later became
Asparagus Valley.

Q) What instruments did Penn and Teller play in Asparagus Valley?
A) From: Penn Jillette
I played bass. Teller played pipe organ (at that time Fender Rhodes
piano), and Wier Chrisemer (the third member) played xylophone.

Q) Does anybody know what happened to Weir Chrisemer (the third member of
Asparagus Valley)?
A) According to Penn he's no longer in showbiz. He works for AT&T in
customer relations in New Jersey.

Q) How do I get a Bongoes Bass & Bob CD?
A) From: ha...@u.washington.edu (What Illuminatus?)
Telnet to cdconnection.com
Wade through the menus until you get to their database search. Look for
"Bongos".
Here's what I got from them:
BoC3 BONGOS BASS & BOB NEVER MIND THE SEX PISTOLS 10/1
$12.58 &BONGOS BASS & BOB 10/92
The bongos are Dean J. Seal, the bass is by Penn Jillette, and the Bob
(and guitarist) is Rob "Running" Elk. All three take turns at lead
vocals, and they're helped out now and again by various beatnik musician
types like Fred Frith on violin or Kramer on fake accordion, phony
horns, etc. Fact is that those bongos do lend a certain hipness to the
proceedings, and although the musical styles are wide-ranging (punk to
calypso to doo-wop) and the arrangements fuller than you might expect,
all this stuff retains a kind of bohemian charm. Lyrically, BB&B are
absolutely hilarious, very insightful, and function in the tradition of
the Fugs. As singers, all three slip easily into different characters,
Penn Jillette being the standout, with a vocal approach somewhere
between Captain Beefheart and a pro wrestler. And like many of the Fugs'
releases, this is a music-comedy record that holds up to repeated
listenings. Rev. Bryan Sale, Option
From: CALL...@VM.TEMPLE.EDU (Miriam Banash)
Don't forget to listen for Teller's backing vocals on Clearly Unhealthy
and Girl With a Gun!!


======================================================

TRIVIA

Fun things to know for those playing along at home.

Q) What was Teller's full name?
A1) From: gal...@MIT.EDU (Eric)
Raymond Joseph Teller. The source for that is a Boston Globe article
about them, on Feb. 17, 1991.
A2) Teller denies the above; but then, he also said he would deny it even
if it were true.

Q) What's Penn's full name?
A) Penn Fraser Jillette

Q) What's the deal with Penn's one red fingernail?
A1) From: to...@cellar.org (Tony Shepps)
Way back in the mid-80s, Penn came into the audience, and a lady asked
him why he paints the fingernail. His answer: "For the same reason you
do."
A2) From: ram...@csn.org (Susan Ramirez) and
tr...@gandalf.rutgers.edu (Rich Trott)
Penn said, "It means I once killed a man for asking personal
questions." (From the movie _Penn and Teller Get Killed_)
A3) From: ct...@netcom.com (Don Gladden)
The first rule any magician has to know is to keep the audiences
attention AWAY from anything he may be doing as a "trick", so they tend
to distract you by calling attention to something else in some way. Penn
uses the fingernail.

Q) How difficult is it to get their autographs?
A) From: ct...@netcom.com (Don Gladden)
Buy their books, and don't forget to take them, they WILL autograph
them, or just about anything else for you! Don't worry about missing
them, they are REAL people, and wait for EVERYONE to get out of the
theater before leaving. You can't help but walk by them! If you duck
and run, you MIGHT be able to avoid getting autographed and "bloody hand
printed", but you'll have to be fast! :)

Q) Can anyone please confirm or deny that Penn & Teller have taken up
interest in the political philosophy of libertarianism?
A) From: ram...@csn.org (Susan Ramirez)
From an article by Glenn Collins called "Up To New Tricks" in the
12-4-88 New York Times Magazine.
"Penn describes himself as a 'practicing skeptic', making the
distinction between that and a cynic, 'who lacks the feeling of lust
for life, and a sense of wonder.' His politics? 'I'm optimistic and
idealistic enough to go to anarchist if you're willing to push it --
but I could pull it down a notch to libertarian.' But he says he is
also 'as conservative as you can find on the Protestant work ethic,
drugs and drinking and gambling.'"

Q) We know that Teller swallowed goldfish. What did Penn do before he
joined Teller?
A1) From: dw...@csn.org (Dave Ward)
Penn's original job was a street-performing juggler in Trenton, NJ.
A2) From: jug...@dorite.use.com (Phil Paxton)
Penn was Michael Moschen's partner on Boardwalk (NJ) in their teens.

Q) Out of sheer curiosity, how old are they? Also, about when did they
start their act?
A1) There's a time-line in the back of _How To Play With Your Food_ which
answers these sort of questions.
A2) There's an updated version of this time-line on their Web site.
http://www.sincity.com/

Q) When's Penn's birthday?
A) March 5

Q) When it Teller's birthday?
A) Feburary 14

Q) Do you have any Penn and Teller drug related stories?
A) From: mrag...@nyx10.cs.du.edu (Margaret Ragaisis)
P&T are *strongly* against the use of drugs/alcohol. Never touched 'em,
never will. And they don't have much respect for people who abuse them
either.

Q) What does Penn think of Siegfried and Roy?
A) "S&R is a glitsy tractor pull and as such, I like it. I'm the "Roy" of
P&T and don't you forget it!" Penn

Q) You guys hears about this guy on fox, Rudy Cody I think his name is, who
claims to be the coolest magician on Earth? Don't P&T have anything to
say about that?
A) From: tgod...@netcom.com (Maggie Ragaisis)
Not too likely there'd be a duel. According to Penn, Rudy really likes
the guys a lot and Penn thinks Rudy is kind of like Devo.
Whatever that means; I'm not sure.

Q) Did either Penn or Teller attend Harvard? I saw something about them in
the Harvard Lampoon.
A) From: Penn Jillette
Neither Teller nor I went to Harvard. We were given some sort of
honorary membership in the Harvard Lampoon a few years ago, but that's
as close as we've come. I don't know about this book, I've never seen
it but it comes up now and again. I think they asked our permission and
we just forgot. Teller went to Amherst College and I went no further
than Greenfield Public High School and even that was by the skin of my
teeth. We are now "Visiting Scholars" at MIT and that's way cooler than
Harvard.

Q) Who's sexier, Penn or Teller?
[Ed note: Not realizing how important this subject is, I started
collecting this thread in the middle. The response seems to be evenly
split.]
A1) From: som...@aol.com (S)
Just to set the record straight, Teller is at least as sexy as Gossamer,
that great hairy molar in tennis shoes ("Monsters must lead such
innnnnteresting lives") and much cuter than Elmer Fudd (and if you don't
get that in-joke, look in the first book), so any favoritism will be
actively resisted - play fair now.
A2) From: som...@wwa.com (J)
When Penn and Teller played Chicago (technically Merrilville IN) after
the show, when they were signing autographs, for quite a while after
the crowd died out around Penn there was still quite a crowd of ladies
around Teller. Penn's response, "Yeah, well you can see which of us is
more popular with the women." I think that this might have had
something to do with the fact that most of the young ladies were
frightened off when he lifted his T-shirt to show someone that he was
indeed as naked under it as he claimed to be, then gave her a rather
personal bloody print to take home on her program.

Me? I think Penn is one hot babe... I wouldn't throw him out of bed
for eating crackers, heck, I wouldn't throw him out of bed for
breathing fire!

Q) What are their "Kevin Bacon" ratings?
A1) From: sandor weisz <fer...@merle.acns.nwu.edu>
Both Penn & Teller were obviously in "Penn & Teller Get Killed." A woman
by the name of Camille Saviola played the airport security
guard. Ms. Saviola was in "Queens Logic" as Madamme Rosa. Kevin Bacon
was in "Queens Logic." That's 2 degrees for the both of them.
A2) From: tgod...@netcom.com (Maggie Ragaisis)
Penn and Teller both have a Bacon rating of "2." They were both in
"Car 54 Where are You" with Eliza Roberts who was in "Animal House"
with Kevin Bacon.

Q) Where can I order a Team Satan 666 shirt?
A) From: Penn Jillette
A woman that I know bought it for me at her friend's shop in LA. I loved
it, I flipped over it. I thought it was great at making fun of xtians.
The only downside is some people think that a scoffing atheist is a
satanist and that's just stupid.
I loved it so much, that I bought all the "Team Satan 666" shirts that
her friend had. Then, her source in Texas stopped making them (or
something, I may have this wrong, our office did the work). We thought
about how easy it would be to make our own (it's just red plain letters
on black), but that's wrong. I feel very strongly about intellectual
property. So, we kept bugging the people in Texas until they made some
more and then I bought a couple dozen. I love them.
I was walking in Frisco wearing the shirt and a traditional punk was
walking the other way wearing a matching shirt. We made eye contact,
and smiled a little as we passed. It's a good shirt.


======================================================

MAGIC

Q) Would it be possible to set up some kind of "Is this your card" server
to send back an ascii three of clubs via e-mail?
A1) From: ot...@tukki.jyu.fi (Otto J. Makela)
I'll do it for you: Is this your card?
-------------------
| 3 _ |
| C _( )_ |
| (_) (_) |
| _|_ |
| _ |
| _( )_ |
| (_) (_) |
| _|_ |
| _ _ |
| _ | _ |
| (_) (_) C |
| (_) 3 |
-------------------
A2) From: Robb Miles (kme...@knot.ece.cmu.edu)
In an inspired (and I do use the term loosely) moment after their
Pittsburgh stop, a co-worker and I set up this World-Wide Web page:
http://www.ece.cmu.edu/afs/ece/usr/kmeter/html/IsThisYourCard
There's also an ASCII 3C under the GIF for non-graphic based Web
viewers. Same URL.

Q) I've got a lot of spare time and a pickle. What can I do with it?
A1) From: ehoo...@eoc.com (Edwin Hoogerbeets)
A bunch of friends of mine tried the pickle thing from How to Play With
Your Food. It actually works! Made a great St. Paddy's Day trick, being
green and all.

The procedure: get a 1 to 10000 volt transformer. Plug the 10000 end of
it into a pickle. Plug the low end into the wall. Make sure you are in
a well ventilated, non fire hazard place, with a fire extinguisher
available just in case. It glows a cool eerie green.

But wait! There's more! We extended this procedure to something that
wasn't in the book. Unplug the transformer from the wall. Plug one wire
from the 10000 end into one pickle, and the other wire into a different
pickle. Line the pickles up in a V shape with a slight gap at the bottom
of the V. Plug the transformer in again, et voila: Jacob's pickle.
A2) From: ignatz topo (pr...@teleport.com)
Discovered a good, cheap and (somewhat) safe way to do the glowing
pickle trick. Most thrift stores have hot dog cookers, which are
little more than electrified plastic trays with lids, and evil looking
prongs which are set apart at weiner (and therefore, pickle) length.
On the model I bought, the current won't flow unless the lid is on.
Only one end of the pickle glows, but what do you want for cheap?
Bonus: a typical brand name is "Presto".

Q) Can you tell me how all of the tricks work?
A1) You probably won't see revelations of any sort here since
1) It ruins the magic;
2) Even if it was exposed by Penn and Teller, it ruins the punch line.
Sometimes, however, people will explain the workings via e-mail if you
ask them.
A2) From: crag...@nyx10.cs.du.edu (Chris)
Contrary to popular belief (it seems that folks really _want_ to
believe it, too) P&T _don't_ just give away tricks.

Q) Does the telephone trick in Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends still work?
A) From: Nikolai Tolstoy (Tol...@ix.netcom.com)
The telephone trick that came with Penn and Teller's Cruel Tricks for
Dear Friends is out of order.

Q) Where can I get a brain mold for the "Bleeding Heart Jello" trick?
A) From: rol...@greatbasin.com
From the Johnson Smith Company, called "Things You Never Knew Existed...
and other items you can't POSSIBLY live without". It's on page 23,
"Gelatin Brain Mold" Real food for thought.

======================================================

FAN CLUB

Q) How does one join the Penn & Teller fan club?
A) Membership cost is $6 U.S., which includes a subscription to Mofo Knows,
their newsletter. Write them at:
Mofo
4132 South Rainbow Blvd.
Suite 377
Las Vegas, NV 89103
The check can be made out to "Mofo." That psychic gorilla has his own
bank account. Don't you just love America?

======================================================

ABOUT THIS NEWSGROUP

Q) Who's responsible?
A1) This is the text of the first article to appear on alt.fan.penn-n-teller
at my site:
From: dcbr...@cats.ucsc.edu (David C. 'Davy Baby' Brogden)
About a couple of weeks ago, someone proposed alt.fan.penn-and-teller on
alt.config. It was then suggested that this get changed to
penn-n-teller so that it would comply with the mystic Fourteen Letter
rule. After a period of non-objection on alt.config, I decided to send
out the message and put Penn & Teller in the limelight of Usenet.
I personally find Penn & Teller to be very cool.
A2) After tireless searching, here's the control message which started it:
From dcbr...@cats.ucsc.edu Sun Mar 27 15:47:45 1994
From: dcbr...@cats.ucsc.edu (David C. 'Davy Baby' Brogden)
Newsgroups: alt.config
Subject: cmsg newgroup alt.fan.penn-n-teller
Control: newgroup alt.fan.penn-n-teller
Date: 24 Mar 1994 05:46:39 GMT
Summary: alt.fan.penn-n-teller: for discussion of Penn & Teller
Keywords: newgroup message

This is a "Booster Newgroup" message for alt.fan.penn-n-teller.

Penn Jillette and Teller are popular magicians and performers who have
written two books, starred in a major motion picture, have appeared in
numerous television specials, appear regularly on Late Show with David
Letterman, and tour regularly.

Please consider carrying this group at your site. Thanks for reading
this.

For your newsgroups file:
alt.fan.penn-n-teller The magicians Penn Jillette & Teller

Q) What was the first flame?
A) Curiously enough the first flame didn't arrive until article 3. It was
From: gje...@unix2.tcd.ie ([DELBOY])
Penn-n-Teller are the biggest load of Gock I've ever seen.
You're mothers arse is more exiting.

Q) Is there a FAQ?
A) You're reading it! It was created March 29, 1994, by Paul E. Nielsen
(nie...@eecs.umich.edu).

Q) How often is the FAQ posted?
A) It's posted once a month, on or about the first business day of the
month. It's also available from the World Wide Web at:
http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/nielsen/alt.fan.penn-n-teller-faq

Q) Have Penn or Teller ever posted here?
A) Not directly, but they often forward material to be posted here.

Q) Do any of the Penn and Teller "insiders" post here?
A1) Colin Summers aka Mofo (personal hacker to the stars) has turned up a
few times.
A2) Nate Santucci, the "P&T Magic Geek" posts here regularly.

Q) I keep seeing great articles from Margaret Ragaisis. What's her
involvement? Does she work for the guys?
A) From: mrag...@nyx10.cs.du.edu (Margaret Ragaisis)
I'd just like to set the record straight about what I'm doing here on the
newsgroup.

A few years ago, Penn asked if I would post a message to alt.magic
asking for ideas people might have for the _Play with your Food_ book.
I did so, very gladly and we also agreed that if people had questions or
wanted to send e-mail to the guys, that I would pass it or try to get
the answers and write back to people.

And if it ever became "too much", the guys would understand and I
wouldn't be asked to do it anymore.

In the past year, I started posting show schedules for the guys, just
because it seemed like a lot of people asked for them often and the
person running their office was more than happy to oblige the fans on
the Net.

But I'm not the official fan anything for the guys. I do this as a
favor for them and that's it. I know a lot of people what to get the
latest and most interesting news regarding the boys, but that's not why
I'm here.

======================================================

LEGAL NOTICES

*** Copyright:
Copyright (c) 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 by Paul Eric Nielsen
All rights reserved.
This FAQ, or excerpts thereof, may be freely redistributed, in any
medium, provided that you conspicuously and appropriately publish on
each copy an appropriate copyright notice, warrantee, and disclaimer;
and give any other recipients of this information the same rights to
copy and distribute this information as you have. It may not be sold
for profit or incorporated in commercial documents (e.g., published for
sale on CD-ROM, floppy disks, books, magazines, or other print form)
without the prior written permission of the copyright holder.
Permission is expressly granted for this document to be made available
for file transfer from installations offering unrestricted anonymous
file transfer on the Internet.
Contributed submissions may be subject to other terms or conditions.
Please, check with the contributor.

*** Warranty:
This FAQ is provided AS IS without any express or implied warranty.
Neither Paul Eric Nielsen, nor any affiliated agency, make any warranty
of any kind, either expressed or implied, regarding the quality,
accuracy, or validity for the data and/or information contained in this
document. Use of information obtained from or through this FAQ is at
the risk of the user. This FAQ is based on the collective wisdom of the
net and as such may be unreliable.

*** Disclaimer:
1) Answers with an attribution represent the opinion of the submitter.
While they may have been edited for size and style, they do not
necessarily represent the opinion of Paul Eric Nielsen or any
affiliated agency.
2) The questions may either be actual questions asked on
alt.fan.penn-n-teller or invented by the editor.
3) All non-attributed material is solely the opinion of the Paul Eric
Nielsen and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of any
affiliated agency.


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